40 years of VRN

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KIRKCALDY’s hospital radio station has reached an impressive milestone.

FORTY years since its first broadcast, VRN continues to entertain and inform patients, staff and visitors to Victoria Hospital.

VRN was formed by a small group of determined radio enthusiasts in February 1971. Colin Johnston, a former RAF serviceman, and Richard Park, who ran a pub in Kirkcaldy with his father, decided it was time to create a radio station in the town which would act as alternative therapy to those who were in hospital.

The men brought together a small group of friends to form the first committee of what would soon become VRN.

After months of preparation and weeks of talks with hospital bosses, the group was given the thumbs up.


Over the next few months they managed to build up a collection of donated records. Aptly, the first record which went into the library was the New Seekers’ ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’.

Finally, after months of doing just that, VRN went out live on Wednesday, March 3 1971.

Colin Johnston, co-founder of the network, said he was humbled and happy to be celebrating 40 years on from when he first handed in what he describes as an “awful” demo tape to hospital bosses.

“I am very honoured,” Colin said. “Honoured that it’s still here, still going, and I hope it continues for a very long time.

“I remember being influenced by the radio pirates of the ‘60s when we first started the ball rolling - when I think back now it was basically a bunch of college kids having a good time! It feels like it was 140 years ago, but it’s been great fun.”

Colin added that without the help and determination of the ever-changing team at VRN over the past 40 years, the station wouldn’t be the success it is now - still notching up awards with three nominations already this year.

Presenters have interviewed everyone from Gordon Brown to an exclusive with Jack Vettriano, and there’s never been too many gaffs along the way.

“I admire the team greatly,” Colin continued. “We couldn’t do it without our volunteers - they are absolutely vital and very dedicated.”